Identification: Name that Fern?

Discussion in 'Indoor and Greenhouse Plants' started by Luperus D, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    Atleast I assume it's a fern of some sort, it has leaves that I associate with them but I'm not the brightest crayon when it comes to plants.

    This one I bought because I felt sorry for it, it was in such a tiny pot and the roots had started growing out of the bottom. It was shoved so far back on the shelf that it looks a little sickly and pale and it was in bone dry compost when I picked it up. (I gave it a good water before transferring it to a new pot)

    Now, thing is.. I don't know how big this is going to get or if I'm going to be at risk of over-watering as I don't know how thirsty this plant is and such.

    At the moment it is sat with my two Moss' and my Polka Dot Plant. Shame that I keep buying these in hopes that that scarlet leafed plant will come back in at some point.

    Thanks for your time reading this and any help you can give me. :)
     

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  2. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Appears to be a species of Chamaedorea. These are palms commonly called Parlor Palms. Far too small to discern a true species.
     
  3. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    The image or the plant itself is too small? if it is the image I can try and get a few more photos.
     
  4. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Your photo is not the problem. Palms are just too similar when juvenile to readily identify a species. This message from Hawaiian author and palm expert Leland Miyano may explain better. Leland has written multiple books on the tropical plants of Hawaii. He is considered an authority on palms, cycads and aroids and works with several local botanical gardens as well as designs some of the more famous gardens in those islands. This is was his response to a similar request:

    "Aloha. It is almost impossible to confirm an identity
    on these as they appear to be a cluster of young palm
    seedlings of a pinnate species. Many seedlings look
    identical to this photo. I suggest that the grower
    separate one out and let it grow independently until
    some diagnostic character develops. Origin or other
    data may help...any seed description?

    Some palm nurseries grow out thousands of seedlings."
     
  5. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    Ah, ok, I'll let him grow a bit but atleast I'll be a bit more prepared when he gets huge down the line (I was a bit stunned to find out they can grow up to 3 feet tall). Oh well, rather be hit with it now rather than a few months down the line when I wonder why my new pot got small all of a sudden.

    How many months should I leave it before I try to ID him again? (my mind says 6 months to a year but I could be skewed in that belief as I'm not sure how fast he will 'grow up')

    Thanks for all the help so far though and I'm sorry if I come off as a bit dense.
     
  6. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Three feet? Try four meters or more! I've got them in my tropical atrium pushing 13 feet right now. Many people keep them in low light but the palm does not flourish (in my opinion) in that setting. I grow them, and have for many years, in moderately bright dappled light. In Florida they are grown in fields under a light shade cloth. They stretch to find the light. Every spring they will produce countless seeds once they become adult and only then can you come close to identifying the species. Keep it damp in a well drained potting soil. Don't over water but don't allow it to become dry either. In nature they grow on the edges of the rain forest.
     
  7. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    Oh dear, one site I looked at for Parlor Palm said 3 feet but I guess I'll have to expect for him to be brushing the ceilings incase he grows larger. I have a feeling if he gets larger than a meter I might have to rehome him because my room might not have space for him.
     
  8. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    You can control the growth by limiting the light, fertilizer and water. However, don't starve the plant or it won't survive. Chamaedorea species are often grown as house plants but one common question I receive in my email box asks why they die. That obviously is determined by the care, or lack thereof. Some sites at least imply the plant will grow in a dim living room. I've never found that to be true. Although they will do well in dappled light they don't grow naturally in dim light. But bright light will make it surge as will fertilizer and water. I've seen them go from very small to 4 meter plants in under four years.

    Just make sure the soil does not become too dry and make the plant work a bit to seek the light. You should enjoy it for some years before it decides to become a teenager and "leave home".
     
  9. Bluewing

    Bluewing Well-Known Member

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    If it is a parlor palm, don't worry about the height! In a reg home they are not going to crowd you out. I have one that's about 17 yrs old, maybe even older and it's only 3 1/2" - 4 ft tall.
     
  10. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Hey photopro, just wondering, is that in its own pot or is that in the ground in your atrium? If it's in the ground, what kinda pot might be large enough to grow it like that :P? Also, how long has it been growing? a decade? Thanks
     
  11. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    Let me begin from the bottom of your question. I now have about a dozen large plants but we have actually dug up several and given them away. We planted the atrium in the summer of 2002 and I planted two plants about 3 feet (1 meter) tall. Both were taken from my yard in Florida before we moved. They are all at least up to the 12 foot (4 meters) mark on the atrium wall. The reason I know where the 12 foot mark is that is where the walls end and the roof begins. Right now I have seeds forming on all the plants, and yes, they are in the ground. The extra plants have either grown from seed or shoots coming up from the original group.

    When we planted the atrium we crafted the soil to make it as similar to a natural rain forest as possible. I know I'll get in trouble here, but we used a great deal of peat, Perlite, peat compost, cypress mulch, sand and a small amount of bagged cow manure in the process. I didn't keep an exact list, but there were probably a few more things I threw in along the way. I used to just go to the nursery and buy anything I could find to add to the mix including the cheap bags of potting soil and some gravel. All that was tilled into the existing Arkansas clay to a depth of around 18 inches (45cm). I've already been chastised off-line by a couple of regulars because I use peat. But at that time we had no way to create any form of compost. The rain forest floor is built of eons of decaying vegetation which is very fast draining. I needed to duplicate that natural mix as closely as possible.

    The plants hit their current size within 4 years. All are planted behind a tall Brugmansia tree that filters the light but they are on the east wall and get the benefit of all the light from the east until approximately 11:00 AM at which time the light becomes filtered.

    I believe they grew that way for several reasons. One, I water just like the plants are in a real rain forest which is daily during the heat of the year. During the winter I back off to twice a week with an occasional third day thrown in if I feel the soil is becoming too dry. Another is regular liquid fertilizer. The humidity in the room stays above 85% all the time due to a large pond in the center with moving water. I use off the shelf 10-10-10 fertilizer from early spring until the beginning of winter. I don't fertilize during winter. The plants receive both the slow release pelleted form and liquid with the liquid given about every 10 to 14 days and I don't care about the brand. And last, the morning light.

    My son used to work for a nursery in Homestead, Florida that grew large numbers of these plants and they all grew quickly. They used an auto water system and watered just about every day. That's how nurseries can make money on them, they grow fast and turn around quickly. But for some reason, popular belief is they like dim light. I believe the dim light stunts their growth. In the fields they were grown in almost direct sunlight all morning long but would go into shade around mid day due to a large canopy of natural trees on the property. And the last is the water. They just don't appear to like being in real wet soil. And my soil will become completely dry if I wait 3 days to water.

    I used to spend a lot of time at some of the major growers in South Florida asking questions how they grow their plants. I know my answers on this forum are often contrary to popular belief, but I read volumes of material about the rain forest and ask long lists of questions of botanists and professional growers. I just try to duplicate what they have taught and it appears that often, what is natural is not quite in line with what is accepted by home growers. But you should see the plants!

    And by the way, everyone around here knows my atrium is open to visitors almost any time. If you are in the area and want to see what we've done, anyone is welcome to visit. And of course, you can see around 80% of my plants on the internet via my website. I'm now beginning to replace many of the photos I took two years ago because of the growth of many of the specimens. In the rain forest, many plants we think should be small become enormous. The difference appears to be simply the way home growers try to grow them.

    Almost forgot about the pot size. I also differ here with commonly accepted belief. I often use very large pots for the plants I prefer to grow potted rather than in the ground. I grow some that way because I am sometimes asked by local corporations to do a "rain forest" show and want to have some of the really beautiful plants made more easy to move. I know people say to only use a pot just larger than the root ball, but in my opinion, that is not good advice. I use big pots and find the rain forest species go ahead and fill up the pot at the same time they climb and become large. After all, no one restricts the size of the "pot" in the rain forest and they do grow very big in nature's environment.

    Hope that explains how I did it.
     
  12. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Thanks Photopro! I've seen your site, amazing display of plants!
     
  13. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    It pleases me when people read something on the site. Please understand. I'm not a botanist and I don't claim to be any kind of expert. I just enjoy learning and even though I'm old enough to retire I still try to keep my education up to date. Almost everything I do in the atrium is based on Mother Nature and how she runs her rain forests. I do read a lot of technical material simply because I'm curious and I send an incredible amount of questions via email to botanists in the United States, Europe, Australia, and SE Asia. I had a lady on this forum tell me recently she "didn't trust botanists because they only study dried plants". Well, of the 7 or 8 I know, virtually all are field botanists and spend several months each year in the rain forest. They have seen these plants grow to their natural size, not just the juvenile forms almost all of us grow. So I listen to botanists!

    When we lived in Miami I used to spend several days every month at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden picking the brains of their botanical staff. My entire atrium is based (loosely) on their very large indoor rain forest display. They treat their plants as closely as possible as if they were growing wild. And so do I. Sometimes I'm amazed at what happens.

    Just a few days ago my wife came in and said "you've got to come see this"! A beautiful spathe and spadix had formed up near the top of the atrium on a Philodendron sagittifolium a fiend had collected years ago at the now destroyed Orchid Jungle Park. I've seen the plant produce an inflorescence before, but this one was enormous! Why? My guess is the plant has matured and is now growing way up next to the ceiling at close to 17 feet. I couldn't measure it (I have no legs and get around in a wheelchair) but my best guess is it is close to 30cm (1 foot) long. Could be an inch or so smaller, but it was BIG! And beautiful. If you allow the plants to do what they do in the rain forest, they will surprise you. Every single day! And by the way, the Philodendron sagittifolium is the larger plant in the photo I've posted on several threads of Epipremnum aurum. It was just a baby when we planted it in 2002.
     

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  14. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    I should probably have mentioned this way up there but I'm in the UK so it is fairly chilly here all year round, will I need to give it any extra care for that or should it be ok because there wont be any cold gusts? (only when I open my window for air circulation, heh)
     
  15. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Photopro, I know you're an expert photographer/used to be. But that photo of the spadix and inflorescence seems a bit 'shopped', for the worse. Is it? Kinda blurs the colors into blocks.
     
  16. Novel

    Novel Member

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    Its a GIF image, GIF images mess up pictures :P
     
  17. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    The only PhotoShop work was done to erase the timbers of the atrium ceiling that were directly behind the spathe. Nothing was done to the color. I just used the bit of sky that was present to erase the timbers. Otherwise, the spathe and spadix are exactly as they were photographed. The crying timber just destroyed the shot but there was no way to move the subject! It was shot with a long telephoto lens and I hand held it which may have caused a bit of blur. The spaths are often open only for a few hours and I didn't want to risk not getting a photo.
     
  18. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    and as Novel says, GIF format does mess up colors a right treat, one reason I'm iffy on using it for my digital art because sometimes photoshop likes to throw a tantrum
     
  19. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    I use GIF for things I post on sites like this because my original files are huge. The actual photo is 10 megabytes and is around 50 inches tall. So I reduce the size and turn it into a GIF for this purpose. It also tends to make people not want to "borrow" the images.
     
  20. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    True enough, that is why I put watermarks over most of the things I post online, luckily my photography skills are sub par (despite taking photography in college, oops?) so they don't matter so much.
     
  21. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    Yeah, disgusting GIFs :P Vector graphics for the win (and GIMP) :)
     
  22. photopro

    photopro Well-Known Member

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    More than once I've had watermarks removed by people who know how to use PhotoShop. I now figure if someone is going to steal it they will just steal it!
     
  23. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    All the plantbabies seem happy enough today, they are in the sunniest part of my room (the desk, I don't want to risk scorching them by placing them on my windowsill). I can't wait till the UK heats up some and I hope the weather is better than the non existant summer we had last year. I have a feeling I should get a compass to work out what way my window is facing so I can work out how much light filters in here. (My room is weird, it's sort've down an 'alley' with the main bulk of our house on one side and then the neighbour's house's main bulk on the other so I don't think I actually get any direct sunlight down here, just a lot of wind where it gets trapped in a tunnel effect.
     
  24. natureman

    natureman Active Member

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    I stay away from proprietary software, like PhotoShop (and Microsoft [junk]). GIMP is what I use for image editing, free as in money and open-source. Some people need their photoshop though, as paying for something makes them think it's worthy, sure, parts of it are. But I don't need to get a war started. Your collection and hobby with the tropical plants always amazes me Photopro! :P
     
  25. Luperus D

    Luperus D Member

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    Ah, see, I got Photoshop free from college because of doing an art course, then I got a newer copy from my old workplace along with Microsoft Office, I love getting free computer software for merely working at places, it's great :) Though I'd never pay for an art program, I used to exclusively work with MS Paint.
     

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